Chapter 2:

The Fighter From Azu, Part II

Desert Company

Saya and Kyukko departed from Al-Shinkyou ‘Basad, en route to Rümqî ‘Autónoma. Wakoku ‘Basad was a port city to the south with Takaí-Hăi Sea, with Bayanbürd-shi ‘Basad to the west with the Al-Heiwa Gulf. The inaudible Azu shamisen played endlessly in Saya’s mind, only focused on reaching Rümqî. But she knew that the Dineh Kazaàd shouldn’t be the only thing.

Traversing the sands would exhaust Kyukko, so often they stopped briefly for rest.

After long hours of endless dunes, the autonomous city of Rümqî slowly appeared on the horizon. A mechanical marvel, with towering glass buildings in the arid desert. The Rümqî skyline filled the backdrop of the Sunakhamaj Desert, a magnificent portrait, the red sun turning it into the city of lights.

The city entrance consisted of an oriental gate, with symmetry of the offices on each side of the processing entrance points. The distinct Z̆ongren influenced Azu gabled roof arches mixed with the Khoitan minarets aligned with the ends of the buildings connected by brackets. Crowds of people and wandering nomads gathered at the city gate, with buggies and camels entering through a separate section of the city.

Once they had reached the entrance to the city, the sign on the gate flashed a blue holographic ‘Welcome to Rümqî’ in Azu, Khoit, Galag, and Renhua respectively.

Rünchî e yō!

Tavtau morij ko-Rümqî!

Maligang pagdatung sa Rümchî!

Hūung yúng lúh dùo Lǔmùqí!

“You see the Dhaj logograph of ‘Rümqî’?” Kyukko said, walking with Saya approaching the gate. “The Dhaj character for ‘ü’ is written with four strokes,” Saya continued her grandmother’s statement, “You nasalize when pronouncing the logograph before it in a word.”

“Correct,” replied Kyukko. “Your Khoit lessons really have broadened your knowledge in the common tongue of the land.”

“I’ll be needing it in the Dineh Kazaàd,” Saya smiled and tightened her sack.

Once they passed through the gate, the towering buildings of babel were upon them, with the windmills aloof the roofs of the nobles, the gales flowing between the Khoitan complexes, and the oriental sounds of the Guoren flute in the Rümqî Z̆ongren plaza. Right down the street of the entrance was the Grand Azu Bazaar, a flourishing marketplace that recently received an influx of Khoitan and Z̆ongren traders. Various colors of white and red flew as different banners tied from building to building, the Azu kids playing in the alleyways, and the market stalls flying flags of various nationalities.

It was a city of industrial prowess that the great Azutami nation had boasted, its undefeated military might in conquest had proved that, being that the city was the base for the factories of war.

As Saya took steps forward, she could feel the cold stone ground as they had been intricately laid out in a checkered pattern, with intricate designs etched onto them. But they never noticed the gang of men following them.

“Oi, Ojou-chan, ya lost?” Saya felt a large hand on her shoulder. She turned around, her right hand touching the hilt of her scimitar. That touch from that hand set off her instinctual alarms, and the Koitoch accent was prominent in the man’s voice.

“Obaa, behind me,” She urged Kyukko.

“Saya don’t fight in the square, you mustn't do this,” Kyukko whispered, as more of them surrounded them.

“I don’t know, but I gotta feeling that these people aren’t gonna let us go that easily.”

“So, I can show ya the great places in the city, just leave that old hag behin-”

The shamisen’s bachi struck a string. The flute sang. The sun flew. Saya enthusiastically landed an uppercut on the man leaning in on her. However the man did not move a muscle. As she took her stinging fist out of the man’s face, Saya was sent flying sideways across the square, landing on the dusty stone.

“A feisty one, eh?”

Kyukko quickly ran towards the injured Saya. With Kyukko’s old frail body, she collapsed on her knees. Saya slowly stood up, taking the cloth off her mouth to breathe, panting. She knew what she had gotten themselves into. She was a person that would easily jump into something without knowing the consequences. The sudden brawl had gathered many spectators among the square, with people watching from the grounds and the windows.

Azu culture demanded that the Kesat wouldn't interfere in fights. Fights were left up to the brawlers to decide.

Saya drew her blade, instilling the fact as she pointed it towards the group of men. They did the same, drawing their own weapons of blades and swords. Her scimitar, was a curved blade that combined both Azu and Khoitan welding together. The punch they gave Saya had drawn the fight into her advantage. The afternoon sun assisted her, whoever had the sun on their side would have that advantage.

She charged towards them as they were blinded by the orange sunlight. Dashing forward, she took a leap as sahar boosted her jump, crashing into the men. The shamisen picked up, as Saya slashed those nearest to her on the legs. This was her first time using the sword in a fight. It was a lot harder than Saya thought.

Those three that were slashed fell to the ground, all grabbing their shins. The remaining men then pounced on her. She sheathed the scimitar and jumped out of the way. The sun, something that was once her ally, was now blinding her. The man grunted as he grabbed her shoulder, his blade sung through the air as it was brought down upon her. Saya reacted swiftly, her hand finding a wooden pole from a close stand and bringing it quickly to parry the man's blade. The shamisen’s strings danced lively at the bachi’s command as she warded off the men, aggressively aiming the pole at their stomachs’ rhythmically.

She saw silhouettes of the men. Saya stuck the pole on the ground vertically and vaulted over it, her feet in the air for a brief moment. Her feet landed on the ground and brought the wooden pole around full swing over her. She slammed it into the silhouettes. When Saya covered her eyes from the sun, she noticed that she had destroyed an extravagant merchant stand that was displaying clothes on mannequins.


“Alam Nage!”

Caught in a spell, Saya was violently flung into the office wall by saharic particles. The spectators screamed in fright as she fell to the ground, with something in her body clearly broken. The Guoren flute stopped. The bachi never struck again. Still on the floor, she looked up to see the caster.

“We’r tryin’ to help, and dis is what ya deserve,” The man cracked his neck, angry. Saya tried to get up as the man walked towards her. Her body was too fatigued to stand up properly. He then picked up Saya by the hair. Her long dark brown hair glimmered as she was held up high, the pain ached Saya more than her physical injuries.

“Mahou Hiryok!” Kyukko unleashed a force spell that lightly shoved the man off his feet, dropping Saya on the ground. She rushed to her as she was barely able to stand. “Saya?... Please get up…”

Unscathed, the man stood back up, and called more of his gang over to surround the two of them.

“That hurts, these gaki’s a stubborn bunch. Step aside, hag, we’r only afta ze Ojou-chan here,” The man grinned.

Kyukko glared at them, even though her max sahar level was low for her age. Then someone stepped outside of the office building that Saya had crashed on before.

“Alam Baohu.”

A barrier appeared between the men and them, pushing the gang back physically with ease. The person was a tall figure, wearing a black vest with a matching tie. Holding his hand out pushing the gang away with a saharic barrier, he brushed his short black hair and smiled.

“My oh my, it appears this ‘honorary battle’ has become a ruckus, ” He winked as he held out his credentials. “Rümqî ‘Autónoma Kesat.”

“Gh, you damn Kesat. Stay outta dis! We tryin’ to do our job!”

“If you don’t walk away from this, I’ll happily arrest you for the assault of these women right here.”